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SubjectRe: business models [was patent stuff]
On Wed, May 29, 2002 at 10:29:40AM -0700, Nicholas Knight wrote:
> The definition of "defensive patent" could do with some reassesment.
>
> The only way I can see a software patent as truely defensive, is if it's
> explicitly
> licensed for use by anyone, anywhere, for anything, under any software
> license.
> The only thing it should be used to defend against is someone else patenting
> it
> and denying Red Hat the right to use it, it shouldn't be used to prevent
> others,
> no matter who they are, from using it.

There is a much more aggressive use that arguably is still defensive. It's
a formal codification of the way patents are often used by corporations
these days. It goes like this:

"You have a license to use this patent, without fees or restrictions, in
any of your products as long as you do not raise any claims from any of
*your* patents, of any form, against any of our products, except when
such patent includes license terms that are no worse than this license."

In real life, this is hellaciously hard to express in such a way that it
can't be worked around. (One obvious attack is to fork off an "independent"
subsidiary that raises patent claims on your behalf.) Which is why this kind
of strategy is usually implemented by staff lawyers playing "tit for tat"
with the other guy's staff lawyers.

Cheers
-- perry
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Perry The Cynic perry@cynic.org
To a blind optimist, an optimistic realist must seem like an Accursed Cynic.
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